News flash: The Queen of Capilano is tentatively scheduled to be back in service on Thursday, March 3, 12 days ahead of schedule.
Dear Bowen (Doug, Carmen, Nathan, Mike, Cro, Lauren, Oscar, Bill, Susan, Wilson, Louise, Sam, Jason, Joy, Nancy, Brian, Ben, Ruby, Briar, Romeo, Brylie, Kylee, Penny, Andy, Jo-Jo, Jack, Suzanne, etc. etc..),
Hi everybody. Hope this missive finds you all well. It’s February 16 and I’m on Vancouver Island, in Victoria, and have news so thought I’d drop a line. I’ll actually arrive back this evening but, well, letter writing is a lost art and besides I won’t see all of you when I home, not right away.
I’ve just visited with our beloved Queen of Capilano. Yes, the Q. of C.! She’s here getting spruced up at the Graving Dock in Esquimalt, part of the Naden Naval base. The good news is she will be returning to work sooner than expected, well before the March 15 planned return date, likely around March 3.
I’ll get to the seats and if they’ll face one another in a moment.
First of all it sure is strange to see her surrounded by navy ships with a different skyline and not in water. What a sight in dry dock! Her exterior seems bigger and she’s clean and rather sexy. I’m sending photos but can’t take them from outside as the navy doesn’t want all the foreign governments that read The Undercurrent to see their boats.
Deborah Marshall from B.C. Ferries and the chief engineer David Tolman took me on deck and inside for a tour. She frankly looks a mess right now – not Deborah, she looks great, but the interior of the Cap – but they assure me she’ll be cleaned up with the new furniture and flooring installed soon (much of it is here but not where it’s going yet).
Here’s some news: no more arcade games for the kids. For me I’ve heard “Can I have some money for the video games” quite enough, thank you. They’ll be using that area for cafeteria storage so Lynny, Louise, Barb, Richy Boy and Helmut will have more room to move.
Deborah said they’ve got our message that we like bulletin boards: “There will be five community bulletin boards altogether,” she tells us. “Three on the bulkhead outside the disabled washroom/electrical locker for community and arts, and two on the stairwell bulkhead on either side of the brochure rack, across from the women's washroom, for local business and tourism.”
Here’s a new wrinkle: ATM machines. Two. I figured foreign governments are aware of our society’s predilection for ATM machines so took photos. These will be with the vending machines in a new location: in front of the women’s washroom. There’ll be tables there, too, with these cool mushroom-shaped seats; that’ll be a gathering/coffee area now.
They’ll be different carpeting and other flooring but I misplaced that part of my notes and, well, let’s leave something for a surprise. In front of the cafeteria there’s gonna be new tables and chairs and the area will be similar to what it has always been, a “feed the kids, gobble the toast” area. The cafeteria itself won’t be all that different but a little different.
Our old blue tables and chairs have gone...I believe some to the...oh I don’t recall (remember this is a letter and not a news story!) but Mr. Tolman said they’re seeking homes for all of them. Some tables were put by the elevator temporarily for the worker folks here to have their breaks on and it was odd seeing them in the wrong place like that.
They did stuff outside and on the deck but it mostly looks the same there. It will remain capable of carrying 85 cars and somewhere around 450 passengers and crew. (The Bowen Queen carries but 70 cars but has a maximum speed of 14.5 knots; the Q. of C.’s maximum is only 12.5 knots).
Okay so the seats along the sides of the ferry will be (drum roll please)… different but the same. They’ll be different chairs with a different pattern but we’ll still be facing one another. Hooray! So we can continue looking at each other while we talk about our children, gossip about other islanders and complain about the national park movement.
Unhappily, in front of the men’s washroom the seats will now be “airline style,” not facing as they had been. This is gonna leave Paul Stewart in a pickle. He’s gonna either have to juggle in his old area without facing the people he’s teaching juggling to, or move somewhere along the side of the boat.
What price progress!
I can’t think of anything else. Better get off the property here anyhow. I have clearance as an official Bowen person but the navy personal seem to be watching me. Oh and don’t worry about writing back – I’ll see you on the Q. of C.! And please say hi to the wife and kid for me!
Kindest Regards, All the Best and Take Care,
p.s. Is the wolf gone yet?